NOW & THEN; Why Did So Many Other Species around the World, from Giant Kangaroos in Australia to Mammoths in Eurasia Die out in the Age Ice but Humans Survive? the Modern Face of Science on TV Will Unearth Some Myths in Brecon Next Week
Byline: Dr Alice Roberts
I love my job. I work in areas that inspire me and I have this opportunity to bring subjects that I find fascinating to a wider audience. Television is a good way of doing that because you're reaching out to millions but sometimes it can feel a little bit one way which is why it's lovely to be able to do things like the Royal Geographical Society talks I've been touring around the UK.
I work on television, but I enjoy interacting with the audience. I also enjoy social media. In my last series I was live tweeting during the programmes and getting feedback. Sometimes you have questions that are incredibly insightful and make you look at the material in a new way. It's about disseminating science to the general public but it's also about opening your eyes to different ways of thinking as well.
My new programme, Ice Age, will be aired next year. The Ice Age captured my imagination when I was younger. Everybody is interested in these massive extinct animals that were roaming around the Northern Hemisphere just 30,000 years ago, which to some sounds like a long time but to me doesn't sound very long at all. I like the mystery and I think the animals were awesome and impressive. You had everything from these huge herbivores like the mammoths and mastadons to some of the most formidable carnivores who have ever walked the planet like sabre-toothed cats, American lions, cave lions. I'm a human anatomist, an anthropologist by training, but you can't look at humans in isolation. You end up getting fascinated by the animals that they shared their world with.
People think it's all old, but it's actually a very current area and there are lots of scientists working to solve the mysteries. I don't think we have all the answers yet but we're getting closer. There are so many different aspects of science that are focussing on this now - archaeologists and paleontologists are digging up ancient remains, with better dating techniques than we've ever had. We have the ability to extract ancient DNA from old bones but also to look at DNA of living animals, which tells us about species development. …